Gideon's Revenge

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers


A medieval parody of lust, treachery, kidnap and revenge.

Submitted: October 11, 2017

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Submitted: October 11, 2017

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GIDEON’S REVENGE

Part 1: Gideon Goes On a Trip

Part 2: Gideon Falls into a Booby Trap

Part 3: Gideon Goes Bush

Part 4: Peronell Plans a Kidnapping

Part 5: The Queen Resorts to Subterfuge

Part 6: Rusalka’s Plan

Part 7: Gideon Submits to an Unusual Wedding

Part 8: Gideon Has His Revenge

Part 1: Gideon Goes On a Trip

Most young bucks in days of yore would find their fortunes by venturing to far lands where they would slay dragons, fight pirates or rescue damsels in distress. They would be well rewarded for such deeds. Gideon had no need to venture to far lands. He found his fortune by going on a short trip.

Most of the rock on which Gideon tripped was buried in the road. Gideon’s left foot found the part that wasn’t. His foot stopped. The rest of him didn’t. His short trip ended with his face in the mud. Scrambling to his feet, he looked around to see if anyone had witnessed his fall. He saw nothing. His vision had been obscured by a piece of mud-caked paper that had fixed itself to his face. ‘I’m blind! I’m blind!’ he wailed as he ran round in a circle. He tripped on the same rock. The paper fell from his face. He could see again. It’s a miracle!

‘I can see! I can see!’ he cried as he ran round in a circle again and tripped on the same rock for the third time. He picked himself up and glared at the offending rock. It was half concealed by the mud-caked paper that had temporarily blinded him. Something about the paper looked familiar. Could that be a lottery ticket? He bent down and picked it up.

It was indeed a lottery ticket. It did not occur to Gideon that it might no longer be valid. It could be a winning ticket! He hurried home to his humble hovel, and cleaned most of the mud off before taking it to the Lottery Office.

A bored young lady checked the number of Gideon’s ticket. It was a winner! The jackpot no less. The bored young lady’s face lit up. She screamed with joy, and jumped up and down. Her joy was so contagious that Gideon started screaming and jumping up and down with her, and so did everyone else in the Lottery Office.

‘Excuse me miss, but why are we screaming and jumping up and down?’ he enquired.

‘Because you’ve won!’ she beamed. ‘You’ve won the biggest prize in lottery history,’ She paused a moment before adding, ‘Will you marry me?’

Gideon declined her marriage proposal. He gave her a kiss to show that there were no hard feelings. She slapped his face to show that there were.

Gideon invested his winnings wisely. He soon became the richest man in the county. He used some of his wealth to buy a knighthood from a destitute nobleman, and so claimed the right to call himself ‘Sir Gideon’. He used more of his wealth to build a grand castle. This he protected with a broad moat. He swam the moat several times before it occurred to him it would be more convenient to install a drawbridge.

Part 2: Gideon Falls into a Booby Trap

Sir Gideon’s wealth soon came to the notice of the Queen, who lived in the royal palace with her four daughters, Peronell, Ethelinda, Gullveig and Rusalka. There had once been a king too; but he had been roasted and eaten by dragons … or so the Queen claimed. A courtier unwisely observed that a slave sold by the Queen had born a remarkable resemblance to the dead king. The courtier soon afterward suffered from a pain in the neck … just before he lost his head.

Free from the king’s moderating influence, the Queen and her daughters lived lavishly on taxes while the people starved. It was only a matter of time before the captain of the guard came to the Queen with grave news.

‘Your Majesty, the people are revolting.’

‘Yes, they are such loathsome creatures, aren’t they?’

‘No, Your Majesty. I mean the people have risen. They are marching on the palace right now bearing arms.’

‘Bare arms? You mean rolling up their sleeves? Whatever for?’

‘Not arms, Your Majesty, arms. You know, clubs, swords, pitchforks, axes and that kind of stuff.’

‘Oh dear me! That is so annoying. Are they coming to attack the palace?’

‘I am afraid so, ma’am.’

‘Well, you are the captain of the guard. Do something about it.’

‘I have already, Your Majesty.’

‘Good.’

‘I resigned.’

‘What?’

‘Toodle-pip,’ said the captain. He ran off before the Queen could command him to throw himself in the moat.

With their captain gone, the guards took the day off and went for a picnic in the woods. It would have been a nice picnic were it not for all those dratted teddy bears. Facing no resistance, the rebels took over the palace with ease and formed a new government. They allowed the Queen to keep her royal title; but she could no longer make laws or collect tax. No tax. No money to spend. Hence the Queen’s interest in Sir Gideon’s wealth. Gideon would make a fine husband for Peronell, she thought.

Peronell was no stranger to marriage. She had dumped three husbands so far … all of them in the moat where the Queen kept her pet piranhas; but none of her husbands had been rich. Such a waste of husbands, thought the Queen. It’s time she dumped someone who could leave her lots of money.

‘Gideon will be a good husband for you,’ the Queen told Peronell. ‘You will inherit all his money when you kill … ahem… when he dies. But you could be rich even sooner than that. Get him to sign a prenuptial agreement. Then you can claim his money as soon as you are declared married.’

‘That soon? I thought a pre-nup was only for when a marriage breaks up.’

‘Depends on how it’s worded, my child. Just make sure that he signs the agreement before he has a chance to read it.’

Peronell liked the sound of that. She would contrive to meet Sir Gideon as if by chance. Then she would use her womanly wiles to arouse his ardour and entice him into a promise of wedlock.

Next day, Gideon was out looking for his horse. Peronell saw him as he headed home after remembering that he didn’t have a horse. She waylaid him and flaunted her feminine charms; both of which were in grave danger of bursting from her bodice. Gideon fell heavily at the sight of her. He fell because he failed to notice a small dog run between his legs. He fell heavily because he was wearing his new suit of armour at the time.

‘Oof!’ said Sir Gideon.

‘Oof!’ said the small dog.

‘Oaf!’ said Peronell under her breath.

She helped Gideon to his feet while the small dog took off, thereby leaving this story after a brief but spectacular appearance.

‘Thank you for helping me up, my lady,’ Gideon said. ‘Is there anything I can do for you in return?’

‘Yes, you can sign this pre-nup.’

‘Pre-nup?’ exclaimed Gideon. ‘Isn’t that for married people?’

‘Yes it is. You and me. Wouldn’t you like that? All you have to do is sign the pre-nup’. Peronell fluttered her eyelashes.

Gideon gasped. ‘You mean …? But we have only just met.’

‘Oh come on,’ Peronell said. ‘Haven’t you heard of love at first sight? I have been saving myself for someone just like you.’

‘There is nobody like me … except me of course.’

‘Precisely. So marry me!’ With that, she grabbed Gideon and pulled his face into her ample bosom, which she had preloaded with her most enticing perfume. Gideon tried to pull back from this unseemly contact; but his nose was firmly wedged in her cleavage. Puffs of steam leaked from joints in his armour.

‘Wow … um … yes, of course I would like to marry you,’ was Gideon’s muffled reply. ‘I mean, who wouldn’t?’

‘Then sign the prenuptial agreement,’ said the princess, ‘and I’m all yours.’

More jets of steam escaped from Gideon’s armour. By now, his ardour was so aroused that his armour was at risk of bursting asunder. At last he pulled his nose free from Peronell’s cleavage with a loud pop. Zounds! That was some booby-trap. He fumbled for the stick of charcoal that he kept behind his ear in case someone asked for his autograph. Clang! He had forgotten to take off his helmet.

‘Oh for goodness sake,’ said Peronell, ‘sign the freaking agreement before I change my mind.’

Gideon quickly took his helmet off, found the stick of charcoal and signed the pre-nup with it. He didn’t pause to wonder how the agreement came to be. He had never met Peronell before; yet it was already filled out with his name, date of birth, hat size and annual bath night. It also bestowed his entire wealth upon Peronell with effect from the moment he married her.

‘I say,’ said Sir Gideon. ‘Now that we are betrothed, would you care to join me in a …?’ But Peronell had already turned away. She was anxious to tell the Queen of her conquest. Gideon’s ardour evaporated. That didn’t go well, he thought. I wonder what I just signed.

Part 3: Gideon Goes Bush

Gideon was worried. He was sure he had been tricked into signing something that he shouldn’t have signed. He wanted to see Peronell and demand an explanation, but he couldn’t go to the palace. The guards would just toss him into the moat, and he wasn’t due for a bath for another three months.

He lurked instead in a bush along a path where Peronell was known to go for walks. He lurked there for most of a day before Peronell appeared. Afraid of being seen, he had crawled into the centre of the bush. When he tried to leap onto the path to confront Peronell, the bush refused to let him go.

Peronell stopped by the shaking bush, fascinated. She had never heard a bush swear before. Suddenly, the bush tore itself from the earth and leapt on to the path.

‘Halt,’ said the bush, ‘I have a bone to pick with you!’

‘I am not in the habit of picking bones with strange bushes,’ replied Peronell haughtily. ‘Identify yourself.’

The bush thrashed about more violently than before. At last, Gideon burst free amid a cascade of leaves, twigs and broken branches. He brushed himself off.

‘You!’ said Princess Peronell. ‘Why are you lurking here disguised as a bush?’

‘I wasn’t disguised as a bush. I was hiding in it, hoping to catch you alone. Like I said, I have a bone to pick with you.’

‘OK,’ said Peronell. ‘Let’s get on with it then.’

The pair sat down on a fallen log beside the path and picked the last morsels of meat off the bone that Gideon had brought along for his lunch. Sitting so close to Peronell, Gideon again became bewitched by her beauty. He wanted to thrust his nose deep into her cleavage once more, but this was not a good time.

‘Princess Peronell,’ he began, looking her sternly in the eye. ‘I have reason to believe that you are taking advantage of my gullibility.’

‘Nonsense. I know nothing of seagulls. I am interested only in your marry-ability.’

‘Perhaps, but methinks for a dishonourable reason. You tricked me into signing a prenuptial agreement without letting me read it first.’

‘Didn’t,’ said Peronell.

‘Did,’ said Gideon.

‘Didn’t,’ said Peronell. ‘You signed that agreement of your own free will. You said you wanted to marry me didn’t you? Well, a girl has to protect her interests. What if you run off and get eaten by a dragon or something? Where would that leave me?’

‘Well, OK,’ replied Gideon. ‘I agree that as a married man I should ensure that you are provided for; but I have a right to know exactly what I have agreed to.’

‘I can tell you that,’ said Peronell. ‘You have agreed to assign all your money and all of your worldly goods to me.’

‘That’s only if I get eaten by a dragon, right?’

‘No, that’s even if you don’t get eaten by a dragon. I can’t have you frittering your fortune away and leaving me penniless, can I? But don’t worry. I will let you keep your jockey shorts.’

‘What?’ Gideon cried. ‘I can’t agree to that!’

‘OK then, I will take your jockey shorts too.’

‘No, no, that’s not what I meant. I meant I can’t agree to the agreement.’

‘You already did. Your signature has been witnessed by my three sisters.’

‘They weren’t even there,’ protested Gideon.

‘I didn’t say they were. I got them to witness your signature later.’

‘You can’t do that!’

‘I already did. Do you deny signing the agreement?’

‘Well … no.’

‘There you are then,’ said Peronell as she flounced off back toward the palace. ‘See you at the wedding.’

‘Curses,’ muttered Gideon. He sank into the depths of depression. He had been standing over a sink hole. This is a fine hole I’ve got myself into! He climbed out of the depression, and then went off to seek Solace at the inn. Solace was a barmaid there. She always had a kindly word for woeful customers. On hearing Gideon’s tale, she gave him good advice in just three words.

‘Don’t marry her!’

‘What?’

‘Don’t marry her,’ repeated Solace.  ‘Avoid the marriage and you avoid the agreement. That’s all you have to do.’

‘Brilliant!’ cried Gideon. Why didn’t I think of that? He stretched across the bar and impulsively kissed the startled barmaid; after which she impulsively smote him with a beer mug.

Part 4: Peronell Plans a Kidnapping

Peronell was aware of the flaw in her plan. Gideon had promised to wed her, but what if he changed his mind? It would take too long to sue him for breach of promise, and a good lawyer would cost more than she could afford. There was only one thing for it. She would have to stage a shotgun wedding. Shotguns had yet to be invented, but the sharpened point of the Queen’s dubbing sword would serve. All they had to do was ensure his attendance. Peronell sought counsel from the Queen.

‘How can we make sure that Gideon will turn up for the wedding?’ she asked.

‘I can have him arrested and clapped in irons if you wish, my child,’ replied the Queen.

‘Yes, such an arrest would be good reason for clapping; but you no longer have the power to have him arrested.’

‘Thanks for reminding me,’ the Queen muttered. ‘OK, then why don’t you kidnap him? We can keep him in the royal dungeon until the wedding.’

‘Brilliant!’ said Peronell.

She called a secret meeting with her sisters to plan the deed. It was so secret that nobody knew of it, so nobody turned up. She called a second meeting. This time she sent out a notice by messenger. After serving the notice, the messenger flushed himself down the toilet. It was only after he had gone through the motions that he remembered … it was just the message that he was supposed to flush down the toilet.

‘I plan to kidnap Sir Gideon and incarcerate him,’ announced Peronell at the meeting. ‘I need your help.’

‘Oh goodie,’ said Princess Ethelinda. ‘I’ve always wanted to do that.’

‘Me too,’ said Princess Gullveig, ‘and eunuchs fetch such a good price in the slave market.’

‘Oh don’t be so soppy,’ said Princess Rusalka. ‘She means only to imprison him!’

‘I don’t care what you do with him,’ Peronell said, ‘as long as you wait until I have secured his fortune.’

Of the four princesses, only Princess Rusalka felt distaste at Peronell’s plan, but she said nothing.

Capturing Gideon was not as easy as Peronell had hoped. He never went out at night. During the day, he stayed close to crowds. He hired bodyguards, but grew tired of the way they would bear him to the ground every time someone shouted ‘bow and arrow!’, so he sacked them. That was good news for the kidnappers, but they still had to catch Gideon alone. The town was crowded; but there were dark alleys into which an unsuspecting victim might be lured. The princesses lurked in one of the darkest of these, waiting for Gideon to stroll by.

When Gideon came into view at last, Ethelinda cried out.

‘Help me please. I am the victim of assault!’

Gideon stopped and peered into the darkness. He could see the vague shape of a woman sprawled on the ground next to an overflowing rubbish bin.

‘A victim of a salt?’ enquired Gideon. ‘You mean you have been attacked by a sailor?’

‘No you ignorant moron!’ snapped Ethelinda. ‘I have been assaulted. I need you to come in here and rescue me.’

Gideon peered nervously into the gloom. ‘Is the sailor still in there?’

‘There is no sailor!’ declared Ethelinda impatiently. ‘Just me. Get yourself in here right now and start rescuing me. Isn’t that what knights are supposed to do?’

The girl’s attitude made Gideon wary of entering the alley. For a wench who seeks rescue, this one is unseemly rude. But maybe she really was hurt. He decided to call an ambulance, just in case.

He found a homeless man warming his hands by a fire, and he paid him a gold piece to call the ambulance by smoke signal. The homeless man, being poorly educated, got the number of puffs wrong and called a pizza parlour by mistake. The princesses did not get the right man that day; but it was not entirely wasted. They ate the pizza and sold the delivery man’s clothes, after which he barely made it out of this story.

Part 5: The Queen Resorts to Subterfuge

Force did not work, the Queen reasoned, but maybe subterfuge would. Gideon had paid for his knighthood; but he had not been invested. This gave her good reason to command his presence at the palace for investiture. He had no choice but to obey the Queen or lose his knighthood.

As an approved visitor, Gideon did not expect to be cast into the moat. Even so, he approached the palace with trepidation. As he stepped on to the drawbridge, he peered at the murky water below, and then jumped back in fright. A hairy monster had peered back at him. It was his reflection. I really must get myself a shave and a haircut, he thought.

He reached a massive wooden gate at the end of the drawbridge. A sign on the gate said ‘Push’, so he pushed, but the gate wouldn’t budge. He hammered it with his fists, and finally started to kick it. A small shuttered window suddenly flew open in front of Gideon’s face, knocking him off his feet. The opening revealed the scowling face of Princess Ethelinda.

‘Hey,’ she yelled. ‘What’s the ruckus about?’

‘The gate won’t open,’ complained Gideon, picking himself up and casually pulling a splinter out of his bottom.

‘Of course it won’t, you dumb nut! It’s locked. Did you push the bell button?’

‘Oh,’ said Gideon. ‘Is that what I was meant to push?’

‘Jeeze!’ said Ethelinda as she withdrew her head from the window. The gate opened to the sound of clanking chains, grinding gears and the grunting of a slave straining at the winch. Gideon stepped forward.

‘That’s far enough,’ cried Ethelinda. Gideon stopped.

‘Not you, idiot,’ she said to Gideon. ‘I’m talking to the slave.’ She turned to the slave. ‘You can close the gate now, and don’t slam it! Now come with me.’ The slave obediently followed Ethelinda across the courtyard.

‘Gah! Not you - him!’ She gestured to Gideon, who quickly trotted after her.

‘I’m going to take you to the knight chamber now. The Queen will be along shortly.’

‘Night chamber? I don’t need that. I went before I came out,’ Gideon said.

‘Not chamber pot, you ignorant moron. I’m referring to the chamber in which the Queen invests knights. You know, it’s the place where you get down on one knee before the Queen; she bops you with a sword and says ‘Arise Sir Whatever.’

‘I don’t think I want to be bopped with a sword,’ said Gideon, wondering if he should have worn his armour. He followed Ethelinda through a labyrinth of stairwells and corridors. Far below the reach of daylight, the way was lit by flickering torches fixed to stone walls. They passed a number of rooms whose doors were made entirely of steel grills.

‘I see that these rooms are well ventilated,’ Gideon observed. ‘Does the Queen really investigate knights down here?’

‘Invest, stupid. Not investigate.’ She swung open the grill door of one of the rooms.  ‘No, this is not where the queen invests knights. This is where you have your vigil.’

‘Virgil? Who’s Virgil?’

Ethelinda rolled her eyes. ‘Don’t you know anything?’ she asked. ‘A vigil is where you have to stay awake for a long time and think about stuff before you can be invested as a knight.’

‘Oh, OK.’

Ethelinda slammed the grill door, locked it with a large key which she hung on a hook out of Gideon’s reach.

‘I say,’ Gideon protested. ‘Is that really necessary?’

‘It’s for your own protection,’ replied Ethelinda. ‘You don’t want anyone disturbing you or you will forget what you were thinking about and have to start all over again.’

‘Oh, OK.’

Left alone, Gideon wondered what kind of stuff he should think about. He missed breakfast that morning, so he mostly thought about food. Almost as if she had heard his thoughts, Rusalka arrived with a basket of bread and cheese.

‘Ah,’ said Gideon. ‘Just what I was thinking about. I was hoping Virgil would bring me something to eat. Are you Virgil?’

‘No, my name is Rusalka. Listen, I have to get you out of here.’

‘But I have only just arrived,’ protested Gideon. ‘I’m supposed to be thinking about stuff before my investigation tomorrow.’

‘Well think about this then.’ Rusalka looked around to ensure that nobody else could hear. ‘When you leave this room tomorrow, you will not be going to an investiture. You will be going to your wedding.’

‘Wedding? Oh no. I have gone right off that idea. Peronell just wants my money.’

‘I know that,’ Rusalka said, ‘but there is to be no investiture. That was just a ruse to get you here. Tomorrow, you will marry Peronell at the point of the Queen’s sword or else ...’

‘The Queen wouldst slay me?’

‘No, she wouldst just make you hurt a lot. They will keep you alive for at least long enough for Peronell to invoke your pre-nup. You signed away all your wealth from the moment you marry her, didn’t you?’

‘So I am told; but I didn’t expect her to invoke it unless I got eaten by a dragon. What am I to do?’

‘Escape, that’s what. I have a plan …’

Part 6: Rusalka’s Plan

Rusalka had already put the first part of her plan into effect. Earlier that day, she met with her mother and three sisters to discuss details of the wedding. Peronell wanted to skip all the blah, blah, blah stuff and get straight to the part where Gideon says ‘I Do’.

‘You can’t do that,’ Rusalka objected. ‘You have to exchange vows first or there will be no marriage.’

‘OK. What do we have to vow?’

‘Among other things, you must vow to love honour and obey Gideon. Are you willing to do that?’

‘Obey him? Of course not!’

‘Then there is no point in marrying him.’

‘What?’

‘I am afraid Rusalka is right, my dear,’ said the Queen. ‘You must vow to obey your husband. It’s the law.’

‘Never!’ said Peronell. ‘You are the queen. Change the law and take ‘obey’ out of the wedding vow.’

‘You forget, this country is now a kingdom in name only. I no longer have the power to change the law. It will be centuries before the vow of obedience is dropped from wedding ceremonies.’

‘I can’t wait that long,’ wailed Peronell.

‘There is a way around this,’ said Rusalka.

‘Yes?’

‘The groom does not have to vow obedience.’

‘So?’

‘You can be the groom!’

Peronell wrinkled her brow. ‘So that means … oh don’t be ridiculous,’ she scoffed.

‘Not at all,’ Rusalka said. ‘Let Gideon be the bride. Let him vow to obey you.

Everyone said nothing at once.

‘Oh, come on,’ said Rusalka. ‘Haven’t you guys ever heard of a reverse role wedding?’

‘Gideon would never agree to be a bride,’ said the Queen.

‘He’s already agreed.’

‘What?’

‘I told Gideon that everyone makes a big fuss over the bride because she is the centre of attention. Nobody takes much notice of the groom. So now he wants to be the bride and have everyone make a fuss over him.’

‘But I like being the bride and having everyone make a fuss over me,’ protested Peronell.’

‘You’ve had your turn three times already. Listen. If you insist on being the bride, you will have to do whatever Gideon says. The first thing he will do is order you to tear up the prenuptial agreement. Is that what you want?’

‘Of course not!’

‘Good, that’s settled,’ Rusalka said. ‘Gideon will be the bride.’

‘Oh goodie,’ said the princesses Ethelinda and Gullveig, jumping up and down. ‘Can we be the bridesmaids? Can we? Please?’

‘Sure,’ said Rusalka, ‘but you will have to let me get him ready first or you will scare him off. You can escort him to the chapel after I have finished with him.’

Part 7: Gideon Submits to an Unusual Wedding

Peronell’s wedding dress was not a good fit on Gideon. Rusalka had done her best to make it so, but he still had to suck his tummy in before she could do up the buttons. Once they were done up, the dress left no room for his tummy to sag back into its customary shape. ‘My armour would be more comfortable than this,’ he gasped.

‘Don’t be silly,’ she said. ‘Whoever heard of a bride wearing armour? It would be like marrying a can of beans.’

‘I would rather be a can of beans than a trussed turkey. I can hardly move in this outfit!’

‘Oh, stop fussing,’ Rusalka scolded as she added a few layers of veil to conceal his whiskered visage.

‘Now I am a trussed turkey who can’t see.’

In truth, Gideon looked more like a carnival ghost than a bride, except carnival ghosts did not often carry bouquets of pink blooms around with them. Rusalka surveyed him critically. He will have to do, she thought. ‘Now you wait here while I go and fetch your bridesmaids,’ she said.

***

‘Oh, he looks absolutely gorgeous,’ Gullveig gushed as she flounced into the cell and surveyed its occupant.

‘But we can’t see his face,’ complained Ethelinda, who followed close behind. ‘Can we take a peek under the veil?’ she asked. ‘I’m just dying to kiss the bride,’ she giggled.

‘Good gracious no!’ cried Rusalka. ‘The bride belongs to the groom. At the end of the ceremony, the groom raises the bride’s veil to symbolise his claim on her as his property.’

‘Aw, you mean kind of like opening a birthday present?’

‘In a way, yes. Peronell would kill you if you sneaked a peak beforehand.’

‘That’s a shame. I love peaking at other people’s presents.’ Gullveig drew a pair of fluffy slippers from her bag. ‘Let’s escort him to the chapel then.’

‘You brought slippers?’ exclaimed Rusalka.

‘Yes, in case the bride gets cold feet.’

The princesses took Gideon with them through the labyrinth that led to the chapel. They arrived without noticing that Rusalka was no longer with them. The chapel was packed with people. Every seat in the house had been sold, so there was nothing for anyone to sit on. Had he been able to see through his veils, Gideon might have thought he had entered to a standing ovation.

The ceremony began at once. It proceeded at a good pace until Gideon baulked at the vow of obedience. The point of the Queen’s dubbing sword urged him to continue. He squealed ‘I do’ in a voice like that of a startled parrot.

‘You may kiss the bride’, said the bishop. Forgetting for the moment that he was supposed to be the bride, Gideon groped around for someone to kiss. He saw a shape dimly through his veil and felt what he thought was a wedding dress. He swept its wearer into his arms and kissed … the bishop!

‘You fool!’ spluttered the bishop. ‘Eww!’ He tried to spray his mouth with anti-bacterial spray, but grabbed Peronell’s hair spray by mistake. The bishop had nothing more to say after that. His lips were sealed.

‘Sorry old chap,’ said Gideon, flipping his veils back over his head. ‘Couldn’t see a damned thing through those veils. Thought you were Peronell. Hah.’

Everyone stared! This was not Sir Gideon the wealthy knight. This was Uncle Gideon the elderly playboy. He tore his veils from his head and eyed his new spouse with rapture. He gaped in awe at her plunging décolletage. It was lust at first sight!

‘I say,’ he gasped as he took in her magnificent breasts. ‘Would you care to help me out of this ridiculous dress? I’m afraid it will expose my undies, but they are quite respectable and free from unseemly holes, and they were washed only four months ago.’

‘Argh!’ she screamed. ‘Take this impostor away and bring me Sir Gideon. He is the one I wish to marry.’

‘Oh dear me,’ said the Queen, wringing her hands. ‘I am afraid that is no longer possible. You have just entered wedlock with this Gideon. If you marry another Gideon, it will be bigamy.’

‘Argh!’ screamed Peronell again. ‘Where is Rusalka? She did this!’

‘I say, does this mean that I don’t get a kiss?’ enquired Uncle Gideon.

‘You … are dead!’ screamed Peronell. She swung round on her sisters. ‘Fetch Sir Gideon here immediately,’ she said, ‘and cast this weirdo into the moat. Make sure he doesn’t come out. I want to marry Sir Gideon without committing bugger me!’

‘Bigamy,’ corrected the Queen.

‘Yeah, that too.’

The sisters took an arm each and dragged Uncle Gideon through the door. They had not gone far when they came to a fork in the passage. Ethelinda took the left fork and Gullveig took the right. Uncle Gideon came to an abrupt halt between the two. The princesses lost their grip on him and sprawled on the floor in a flurry of petticoats.

‘Now look what you’ve done,’ cried Ethelinda. Why did you turn down that passage?’

‘Because that’s where the moat is,’ retorted Gullveig. ‘We have to throw him in, remember?’

‘We can do that later. Sir Gideon comes first.’

‘Tell you what,’ said Uncle Gideon nursing his bruised nose. ‘Why don’t you two ladies toddle off and fetch Sir Gideon while I go this way and jump into the moat myself. Save a lot of time that way, what?’

‘Brilliant,’ said Gullveig. ‘Problem solved!’ She grabbed Ethelinda by the hand and dragged her toward the dungeon. Ethelinda was caught off balance. They had run some way before she managed to jerk Gullveig to a halt, pulling them both to the floor.

‘What did you do that for?’ cried Gullveig.

‘You fool,’ Ethelinda screamed as she clambered to her feet. ‘Do you really think that freak in a dress will jump into the moat of his own accord?’

‘Well, now that you mention it …’

They dashed back to the fork; but Gideon was gone. All that remained was the wedding gown amid a scatter of buttons that he had not bothered to undo before ripping the gown off. He had burst the buttons by simply relaxing his tummy. He was already racing in his long johns to a secret tunnel through which he could leave the palace without getting wet or eaten by piranhas.

‘Leave him,’ said Ethelinda. We’ll have to get Sir Gideon first and find the runaway bride later. They continued running down the passage to fetch Sir Gideon. Then Ethelinda skidded to a stop. Gullveig ran into her.

‘Oof!’ said Gullveig.

‘Oof!’ said Ethelinda.

They picked themselves up off the floor again.

‘We won’t find Gideon in his cell,’ moaned Ethelinda. ‘We already took him from there.’

‘But that was the wrong Gideon.’

‘Then where’s the right Gideon?’

‘How should I know?’

‘Who’s going to tell Peronell?’

‘We could send her a text.’

‘Good idea.’

They ran to the palace library where they found a stone tablet upon which they chipped the message:

‘Lost both Gideons, lol’.

They ran back to the chapel and tossed the tablet through the door, where it smote the bishop on a delicate part of his anatomy. He would have said something rude but his lips were still sealed with hairspray, so he jumped up and down and said ‘Mmph! Mmph! instead.

Peronell picked up the tablet as her sisters crept nervously into the room.

‘Sir Gideon lost?’ Peronell cried. ‘How can that be? Escape from the Royal Dungeons is impossible! Are you sure?’

‘We are sure, Peronell,’ said Gullveig, ‘but don’t worry. We will find him … and the other one too. They can’t get out of the palace.’

‘Then go! Call out the guard! Sound the alarm! Lock down the palace!’ Everyone left the chapel in haste, not so much to find Sir Gideon as to avoid Peronell’s wrath. Even the Queen deemed it wise to make a strategic withdrawal.

Part 8: Gideon Has His Revenge

They searched in vain for Sir Gideon, for he had already left the palace with Rusalka by way of the secret tunnel.

Peronell annulled the marriage, leaving herself free to seduce another sucker … er … suitor; but it was already too late for that. The royal coffers were now bare. The ladies, once used to a life of leisure, had no money to pay the guards or feed the slaves, let alone feed themselves. They lost the palace through a mortgage sale. They sold their fine clothes and they shaved their heads and sold their hair for wigs. They might have sold themselves too, but there wasn’t much of a market for bald wenches dressed in discarded supermarket bags.  

Rusalka and Sir Gideon went on to live happily ever after, which seems unlikely but that is the way stories like this are supposed to end. Rusalka’s thoughts soon turned to a family. She told Gideon that it would be nice to have some little nippers about the place. Gideon thought so too, so he stocked the moat with piranhas.

After a while, Sir Gideon took the once royal ladies in from the street and gave them jobs scrubbing floors, cleaning loos and laundering his socks. He did not do this out of charity. He did this so he could have the joy of giving them the sack a month later. He did not bother lowering the drawbridge for them when they left. The piranhas were delighted. Nyahahahaha!

END


© Copyright 2018 Joe Stuart. All rights reserved.

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